appraiser walking with clipboard near homeowner

How Long Does An Appraisal Take, And What Factors Can Affect The Home Appraisal Process?

Victoria Araj3-minute read

June 23, 2023


Buying a home is rarely a quick process. But all your time, sweat and tears suddenly seem worth it when you finally step foot into your dream home. Once your offer is accepted, you’re probably looking to move in and start your new life as soon as possible, but one key step still remains: the home appraisal.

In real estate, appraisals are crucial to the home buying process for several reasons – most notably because they allow both the buyer and the mortgage lender to feel confident in their financial investment.

But what goes into a home appraisal and how long can you expect it to take? In this article we’ll explore the basics of appraisals as well as the factors that may affect your ability to keep moving forward.

What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal process determines the fair market value of a home, which ensures the buyer is paying a fair price for the property. As opposed to the in-depth home inspection where the inspector is specifically searching for any and all small defects, a real estate appraiser is more focused on the overall value and basic condition of the home.

The appraiser will consider the home’s overall condition, any upgrades or improvements made to the property and do market research into similar homes in the area to calculate a final appraised value, which is then compiled into an appraisal report and sent back to your mortgage lender.

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How Long Does A Home Appraisal Take?

The time a home appraisal takes depends on the home being appraised and the area it’s located in. Most home appraisals can take anywhere from a few days to a week depending on the complexity of the property, the appraiser’s schedule and other varying factors. This process is similar when getting a refinance appraisal, although homeowners who are refinancing their property are allowed to attend the appraisal, while home buyers are not.

What Does An Appraiser Look For?

When a real estate appraiser examines a property, there are several factors they consider, including:

Exterior integrity: An appraiser will observe the quality of the home’s structure, construction, roof and foundation, and look for any flaws or damages. They may also note the home’s location and neighborhood when determining its value.

Internal condition: Appraisers will examine the interior quality of the home, such as the square footage, number of rooms, layout and structural integrity. Plus appraisers will verify that the home has basic necessities such as a furnace (although they won’t test the furnace – that is part of a home inspection).

Comparable sales (comps): An important part of your appraisal report involves the appraiser researching similar properties in the area, commonly referred to as “real estate comps,” and using that as a guide for the current value.

The on-site appraisal visit can take as little as 30 minutes or up to a few hours, on average. Keep in mind this amount of time may differ with a drive-by appraisal. Prepare for either type by reviewing our appraisal checklist.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Appraisal Report Back?

After the real estate appraiser has collected the necessary information about the home, that information is then used to put together an appraisal report, which serves as a complete property analysis and tells the mortgage lender the final approximation of the home’s value.

The time it takes an appraisal report to be finished can depend on factors like the following:

  • The size or complexity of the home being appraised
  • The appraiser’s own workload or schedule
  • When the mortgage lender ordered the appraisal

Depending on these factors, home buyers can expect to receive their appraisal report within a week or two after the appraisal took place. In addition to the home’s condition, the appraisal report will also provide a detailed market analysis.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Appraisal Scheduled?

Once your mortgage lender orders the appraisal from a third-party professional, it should take up to 48 hours for the appraiser to schedule the home appraisal visit.

The Bottom Line: Home Appraisals Help Ensure You’re Getting Your Money’s Worth On Your New Property

Appraisals are an important part of the home buying process as they can even help you renegotiate if the appraisal is different than asking price.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.